Travel: Sleeping in Airports

Posted by in Travel

*this blog contains affiliate links STRANDED: WHERE TO SLEEP IN AIRPORTS With over 20 years travel experience there are times when the need to sleep in airports becomes a necessity. For example, your flight leaves at an unearthly time in the morning (Stansted), you’ve arrived at an unearthly hour (Shanghai) you’re in transit/have a long layover or the hostels in town are full. So far I’ve had nights at London Stansted, Venice, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Macau, Shanghai (Hongqiao), Cairo, Doha, Vienna, Barcelona and Warsaw Chopin (one day I’ll actually…read more


Travel: Europe by Coach

Posted by in Transport, Travel

*this blog contains affiliate links BUS ABOUT EUROPE In recent years I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively through eastern and now western Europe by train, ferry and bus. Today it’s the latter I’m going to focus on. The main players currently are: Eurolines, Flixbus and a couple of local biggies like ALSA in Spain, Polskibus in Poland, Ouibus in France and LUX Express in the Baltic States. As with the airlines it’s hit and miss on who will carry all my/your bags or only one and charge for the other….read more


Travel: Where I’ve Stayed Part 3: 2021 – ?

Posted by in Culture, Travel

*this post contains affiliate links Welcome back again! Part 3 covers the 2020’s – following a pretty shitty time due to covid the world would slowly reawaken and I began with some long overdue domestic travel. MANCHESTER – TRAVELODGE (CENTRAL ARENA) These were the first places I stayed post-pandemic which has not only murdered lots of people but the places they stay, especially the humble hostel dormitory. So to the staycation and the upgrade to hotel which had much in common with the hostel e.g staff who disappear and rather…read more


Travel: Where I’ve Stayed Part 2: 2010-2020

Posted by in Culture, Travel

*this post contains affiliate links *Some of the hostels on this list may no longer exist Welcome back! Part 2 covers the 2010’s – it’s a pretty extensive ride so make a cuppa, sit back and I’m not sure if relax is the right word but let’s begin back in Barcelona… BARCELONA – GARDEN HOUSE HOSTEL Based out in Horta, away from the hordes this was definitely the right choice for me. Returned eight years’ later, could use a few tweaks here and there. Pros: Clean, quiet and in a…read more


Helsinki: City Time and Place

Posted by in Culture, Design, Travel

INTRO *this blog contains affiliate links and was written in 2017 before the Ukrainian invasion which I give modest reference to below. There is a clear delineation between my formative years in New Zealand and Finland. Both are known as clean, green destinations. Both are sparsely populated, both have risen from relative global slumber to be desired liveable countries and both now command a good degree of personal wealth to be able to do so. In this piece (as well as the usual things to do, museums to visit etc)…read more


Vienna: It Might Mean Something to You

Posted by in Culture, Music, Travel

*this blog may be expanded and updated in the future. *this blog also includes affiliate links VIENNA CALLING For those that know the song, it might mean nothing to Midge Ure and co but it might mean something to you. In the rock n’ roll lifestyle of an English teacher you can find yourself anywhere including Austria, not a known country for the TESOL world so you can imagine my surprise.  I had only two previous encounters, one in 2000 (see the Voyage of Nomad book) when Austria still used…read more


Simple Minds: Themes For Great Cities

Posted by in Culture, Music

**this blog contains affiliate links SOME PROMISED LAND Graeme Thomson is not a name I’m familiar with and I suspect neither is mine to him, but it’s clear from the intro he is not just a Simple Minds enthusiast but a poet (the Scots are awfully good with words and of course music – see my Hats off to the Scots blog for the proof).  Thomson goes through each band member with prosaic praise and wonderfully aims to ‘remystify’ his subject, to approach the music from within (that is to…read more


Singapore: Merlion Memories

Posted by in Culture, Travel

*this blog contains affiliate links TO THE ESPLANADE A long time ago in 2007 I visited Singapore with my then girlfriend. It was a lucky break but also a strange holiday. Like China, Singapore has changed since but some of the renewal process had taken place; The Esplanade was built for example. It’s there soon after arrival at Changi – a destination in its own right, and check in that we ventured first. The exterior shape – it’s known locally after the stinky fruit the Durian – offered a good…read more


Tim Bowness: Catching Up with the Velvet Ghost

Posted by in Culture, Music, Record Cover Design

*this blog includes affiliate links *It would be difficult to discuss Tim’s output without mentioning No-Man and some of his collaborative efforts. I mentioned being on the road since 1999 and it’s that year I met Tim at the now defunct 12 Bar Club in London’s Denmark Street where I also briefly chat to Steve Jansen and Peter Chilvers. I’ve not met Tim in person since but we have maintained a periodic dialogue over the years. The story begins some years earlier… PAINTING PARADISE: THE NEW ROMANTIC NINETIES It’s the early…read more


On Track… Hall & Oates

Posted by in Culture

*this blog includes an affiliate link Every now and again someone, in this case fellow Brit Ian Abrahams, sends me their book to review and on this occasion I was happy to receive it. Stranger still is the fact that someone other than me is a fan of Hall and Oates on this side of the pond (along with Dylan Jones author of Sweet Dreams). The forward tells how author Ian Abrahams got into their work in of all places Cornwall! More or less around the same time I had…read more

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